Jason Heyward is just the beginning of wild trade-rumor season for Cubs


Jason Heyward is just the beginning of wild trade-rumor season for Cubs

The Jason Heyward/Jeff Samardzija/Mark Melancon rumor made so little sense – and San Francisco Giants beat writers shot it down so quickly – that Cubs general manager Jed Hoyer didn’t feel obligated to contact the Gold Glove outfielder or the Excel Sports Management team that negotiated no-trade protections into his $184 million contract.

“In that situation, no, there’s no need to,” Hoyer said Thursday on NBC Sports Chicago’s Cubs Talk Podcast. “I think everyone realized it was just a fabricated rumor. There are times when maybe if a deal has some real legs – and the player knows it has legs – that it’s worth reaching out.”

But this is how the echo chamber works now, an idea floated on Twitter gets traction on social media and then posted on blogs and recycled on talks shows and newspaper websites and pushed into Google’s search engine.

It will only get louder during next week’s GM meetings when agents and reporters stake out the lobby inside a luxury resort in Orlando, Florida. Given a talented roster crowded with young hitters, an obvious need for pitching, an aggressive front office and some financial flexibility, the Cubs will again be in the middle of the action.

“One of the things we’ve talked about with all of our players is we’re in a winning time here,” Hoyer said. “We’re in Chicago. It’s a major market. You’re all going to get rumored in trades, and you just have to accept that.

“That’s part of playing in a big market, and part of winning. If you’re in a smaller market – and not necessarily in that mindset – you can be a player that never has trade rumors. That’s probably not going to happen here. Our players have been pretty good at understanding that.”

Heyward now has a World Series ring, five Gold Gloves, a .669 OPS during his two seasons as a Cub and full no-trade rights through 2018. The Cubs essentially have three untouchables in their lineup (Anthony Rizzo, Kris Bryant and Willson Contreras), a middle-infield combination that would be difficult to break up (Addison Russell and Javier Baez) and three first-round talents repeatedly linked in trade speculation (Ian Happ, Kyle Schwarber and Albert Almora Jr.).

“With some rare exceptions,” Hoyer said, “probably all of these guys have been rumored at some point. And I think that might have been a good thing for them to not freak out every time someone throws their name out there.”

What Chicago sports fans should be thankful for


What Chicago sports fans should be thankful for

Families gather and people talk about things they are thankful for on Thanksgiving, but what are Chicago sports fans happy for now?

Raised expectations on the North Side

Got to be thankful that a “disappointing” season is winning the division and losing in the NLCS. The expectations have skyrocketed, and that’s thanks to a ridiculous nucleus of bats and a steady front office. Not many clubs can say that. Also, though, it’s important to be appreciative of the Wrigley bar stretch. They may charge $8 for a Miller Lite, but it’s always a damn good party.

Javy tags, too. Don't forget Javy tags.

Rebuild sparking hope in White Sox fans

Where to begin? Obviously, be thankful for the plethora of young talent that will soon take over the South Side. Be thankful for Avi Time (while you still can). Be thankful that taking your friends or family to a game won’t cause you to take out a second mortgage. Be thankful for the 2020 World Series and, of course, 2020 MVP Eloy Jimenez. But most importantly, be thankful that Rick Hahn’s phone stays buzzing.

Eddie O back in the booth for the Blackhawks

The Blackhawks are having a rough start to the season, but at least Eddie Olczyk is back in the booth. The longtime Blackhawks broadcaster returned to the booth on Oct. 18 after missing time while undergoing chemotherapy treatments for colon cancer.

With some of the key names from the Blackhawks’ title runs either leaving or being unable to play this season (in the case of Marian Hossa), Blackhawks fans are probably thankful to see a familiar face and hear a familiar voice during games.

Lauri Markkanen leading the Bulls rebuild

OK, there’s not much to be thankful for about the current Bulls team. At 3-13, the Bulls are tied for the fewest wins in the NBA (maybe in the long-term that’s something to be thankful for as well). However, Zach LaVine’s pending debut after his eventual return from injury should help create some excitement.

The thing Bulls fans really should be thankful for this year is the play of rookie Lauri Markkanen. The 20-year-old leads the team in scoring (14.6 points per game) and rebounds (8.3 per game) while shooting at a high percentage (34.2 percent on threes and 50.6 percent on twos). It’s only the beginning of the Bulls’ rebuild, but Markkanen is a good start.


If a few things broke the Bears’ way, Chicagoans could have been grateful that the team was finally out of the cellar. Instead, we’ll settle for the fact that there seems to be some building blocks already in place. Mitchell Trubisky, Tarik Cohen, Leonard Floyd and Akiem Hicks seem to fit that category. Also, some may be thankful that this is likely John Fox’s last season at the helm.

Fire ending a playoff drought

After finishing dead last in MLS in 2015 and 2016, the Fire were one of the most improved teams in the league in 2017. After posting the third best record in the league, the Fire made a first playoff appearance since 2012.

The playoff run didn’t last long with the Fire losing a play-in game at home, but the arrival of Bastian Schweinsteiger and the league’s leading goal-scorer, Nemanja Nikolic, helped fill the stadium with six sellouts and gave Fire fans something to cheer for.

Cubs Talk Podcast: Where do Cubs go from here with Jake Arrieta, Wade Davis?


Cubs Talk Podcast: Where do Cubs go from here with Jake Arrieta, Wade Davis?

In the latest CubsTalk Podcast, Kelly Crull and David Kaplan look ahead to Thanksgiving and discuss the official coaching hires for the Cubs.

They also talk about where the Cubs go from here with Jake Arrieta and Wade Davis, whether Alex Cobb could factor into the rotation plans and Kap goes off on the 11:30 a.m. Opening Day start time.

Check out the entire podcast here: